Thursday, 5 January 2017

I was a prisoner and you visited me

A day of variety and challenge - begun with the daily Office and moved quite swiftly on to the early morning Communion and then some pastoral encounters before I found myself behind high walls and barbed wire as I visited one of the residents in an HMP establishment. Add to this some more pastoral stuff and watch of 'Independence Day 2 (Boris Johnson was played by a large repulsive reptile - talk about typecasting!) and now - it's an early bedtime as have cold and busy day beckons tomorrow.

That said - on the work front I've clocked up some thirteen hours of work today - so realise it's not as light as it felt when I started writing. But it's the ministry engaged in and living with God that matters most I reckon.

The sadness of loss for those I like, and the loss of the people I liked too, hit home this morning as we prayed at the Communion service. The people I know who are caring for loved ones with life-shortening or life-ending illnesses (and there seem to be so many at the moment) and the number caring for ageing parents and family members too. The reading today from 1 John 3 which spoke of being and doing rather than words and posturing; this is the call of the Church for God did not use hollow words but, in Jesus, the Christ, took on flesh, became human , and DID!

That danger of us looking to works to reward and to 'make us acceptable to God and holy to all around us' is immense - but the danger of doing nothing is equally problematic and debilitating, isn't it? We have to do - it's not about being 'driven' (as a colleague recently put it), it's about fulfilling our baptismal calling. Although it's been a short day from the norm, it's been a full one and a fun one and for that I can be nothing but grateful :-).

The opportunity to do a prison visit was a blessing for although I've worked in a few HMP locations over the years, looking at things from the family's side and discovering how the inmate I visited regards doing their 'bird' and the place and people around them - was invaluable. Watching the prisoners around us and the way they interacted with their visitors was interesting too; the relationships and the way some took every moment to touch, caress and cherish their locked awY love. For a moment I found Isaiah 61 pop into my head but thought of 'setting the prisoners free' might set off a few alarms and make life a bit tough for the already stretched and challenged screws!!!

So tomorrow is Epiphany and  the Magi arrive - the world gets to see God made man and the ultimate solution unveiled before it in the shape of these distant travellers, for they represent the world.

Lord may I too make the Christ known to the whole world. May I be in step with all you are doing and be a blessing to all I meet, and if not a blessing may I not be a curse.

Thank you for the word made flesh - bless this flesh made priest I pray.

1 comment:

UKViewer said...

Thanks for another thoughtful post.

I have been given the privilege of preaching on Sunday for Epiphany (transferred from today) and a challenging day to preach on. But so much scope for my learning as I research and read the commentaries and one or two modern people who have written about various aspects.

I hope that I have something useful to impart.